Key points about being a successful social innovator:
"Increase user acceptance
; build on existing platforms,
lower costs and beware of radically different ways of doing things."
; provide financial motivation
for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their
economic or social status."
Pulled from here
All of the points in the article are good, but these two stood out the most to me... first make something that people will actually use and that will fit in the culture that is already there. Changes and shifts in paradigms can be made, but it will be happening with baby steps in the beginning.
Next, make sure that the improvements that are made are sustainable, and I don't mean in the green sense. I mean that they get the buy-in from the locals and they learn how to perpetuate whatever it is that you're doing. One great problem with the re-building of Iraq and Afghanistan is that rather than training the local people on how to rebuild their homes, providing economic stimulation to them, we're just going in and building then leaving.
If we really wanted to rebuild the country we'd train the people how to build things themselves.